Twins Week in Review: 5/24-30
Welcome to The Minnesota Twins Week in Review. On Access Twins, we’ll take a deep dive into the week that was for your Twins. We will post on Mondays, and look back from the previous Monday to Sunday since that’s how MLB lines up its schedule.
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And now, let’s talk to it:
Record: 4-2, .667 (t-9th) — 4-2 at home, 0-0 on the road
Current Fangraphs Record Projection: 79-83, .484 (3rd place, +1 win)
Current Fangraphs Division Chances: 4.1 percent (-2.2 percent)
Current Fangraphs Playoff Chances: 7.4 percent (-1.8 percent)
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Record Projection: 83-79 (3rd place, no change)
Baseball Prospectus Division Chances: 11.5 percent (-6.8 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Chances: 18.2 percent (-5.0 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Playoff Chances: 15.0 percent (-5.9 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Record Projection: 77-85 (3rd place, no change)
FiveThirtyEight Division Chances: 4.0 percent (-2.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Playoff Chances: 8.0 percent (-2.0 percent)
Breakdown: It gives a pretty good glimpse into how far the Twins have buried themselves in the standings that they’re coming off probably their best week of the season yet saw their playoff odds of all shapes and sizes decline.
Hitting (with rankings)
Batting Average: .241 (9th)
On-Base Percentage: .338 (5th)
Slugging Percentage: .445 (4th)
OPS: .783 (5th)
wOBA: .342 (5th)
wRC+: 120 (5th)
Runs Per Game: 5.00 (t-5th)
Batting Average (w/ RISP): .264 (12th)
Breakdown: Raise your hand if you’re surprised the offense was the primary reason the Twins would have a good week in the Year of Our Lord 2021.
I see no hands raised.
The offense is finally finding its mojo, with six guys who had at least 20 plate appearances last week posting a wRC+ of 100 or better:
Mitch Garver - 281 (!)
Trevor Larnach - 277 (!!)
Rob Refsnyder - 148 (!!!)
Alex Kirilloff - 138
Jorge Polanco - 131
Nelson Cruz - 101
Getting this team back to full health obviously can’t come soon enough, but the slumps of Miguel Sano (1 wRC+ last week) and Josh Donaldson (minus-6) have come up at key times in the last week, preventing the Twins from having a phenomenal week as opposed to just a very good one.
If the Twins can mix in a couple of phenomenal (5-1, 6-0ish) weeks, it’ll take the pressure off times when they inevitably fall back to the pack again at some point this season.
But the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The Twins might have to eat an entire elephant and go back for seconds, but I still fervently believe in the appetite of this club.
Starting Pitching (with rankings)
IP: 33.0 (t-13th)
IP/GS: 5.50 (t-8th)
Pitches/Start: 91.5 (9th)
ERA: 4.36 (21st)
FIP: 3.02 (4th)
xFIP: 4.00 (16th)
SIERA: 4.07 (15th)
K/9: 8.45 (20th)
K%: 22.1 percent (17th)
BB/9: 2.73 (12th)
BB%: 7.1 percent (11th)
K-BB%: 15.0 percent (14th)
WHIP: 1.30 (t-20th)
Opponent Batting Average: .256 (25th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .314 (22nd)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .380 (14th)
Opponent OPS: .694 (18th)
Breakdown: On the surface, these numbers wouldn’t look so bad. Even some of the underlying peripherals — like especially how long pitchers have gone into games and limited extra-base hits — but again we have to recollect that pitching across the entire league is dominant.
These numbers simply won’t do if the Twins want to compete with Chicago and Cleveland. Again, the Twins can reasonably expect improvement from Kenta Maeda once he’s healthy and would probably stand to upgrade just by swapping out Matt Shoemaker for Randy Dobnak, but there’s still a ton of work to do here to even be respectable amongst their peers.
The offense is good enough to carry a subpar pitching staff — but they aren’t even subpar, yet.
Relief Pitching (with rankings)
IP: 21.0 (13th)
Innings Per Game: 3.50 (13th)
Pitches Per Game: 53.3 (21st)
ERA: 4.29 (18th)
FIP: 4.26 (24th)
xFIP: 3.98 (15th)
SIERA: 3.55 (12th)
K/9: 8.57 (24th)
K%: 23.0 percent (23rd)
BB/9: 1.71 (2nd)
BB%: 4.6 percent (2nd)
K-BB%: 18.4 percent (7th)
WHIP: 1.24 (12th)
Opponent Batting Average: .272 (t-25th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .299 (11th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .506 (27th)
Opponent OPS: .805 (25th)
Inherited Runners: 9 (t-8th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 5 (t-22nd)
Inherited Runners Scored Percentage: 55.5 percent (t-26th)
Breakdown: The primary, and perhaps only, positive this week among the relief corps was the nine percent drop in walk rate. But basically, all it meant is that while Twins relievers were getting hit hard, chances are there wasn’t much traffic on the bases.
Luke Farrell, Caleb Thielbar and Tyler Duffey threw a combined 8.0 scoreless innings, while Alexander Colome allowed just one earned run and three hits to the 11 batters he faced. Past that, however, Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Juan Minaya, Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala all sputtered with ERAs in excess of 6.00.
The spot I’ve dubbed the “Stashak” has been a problem for the Twins in the bullpen all season. Not only has the namesake been absolutely throttled so far, but so have guys like Minaya, Brandon Waddell and others who’ve tried to fill it. It’s a revolving door at the front of most bullpens across the league, but the Twins can afford it less than others with their core four of Rogers/Duffey/Colome/Robles struggling more than expected to start the season.
Farrell has been a pleasant surprise, and will continue to get longer looks as he continues to refine and hone a repertoire that, thus far, has been 50 percent sliders. What a surprise based on the team he plays for now, right? The spike in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent vs. a career mark of 10.6 percent) is a nice wrinkle.
All research is done via Sportradar’s r360, Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.
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